Bardia: myth, reality and the heirs of Anzac by Craig Stockings.
I borrowed and read this book a little while ago and have kept it hanging around while i got round to blogging it. Its not the sort of coffee table ra ra Anzac book that has been spewed out lately but is well researched and written.
It basically covers the battle for Bardia in January 1941 where Commonwealth forces attacked the small defended town and for the loss of 130 killed and 326 wounded captured 35000 or so Italian prisoners. Being an Australian its always been on my radar as the main assaulting unit was the 6th Australian division but this book really goes into the why and how of the Italian defeat.
There is a lot of background on the events leading up to the battle, the battle itself and the aftermath. Craig Stockings covers a lot of ground that fills out this period and theatre of the early war especially with regard to the Italians and their preparedness to be part of an axis alliance. He also shows how the British and Australian armies had partly learnt from the first world war, as many of their leaders were veterans, especially here with a deliberate assault on a defended position but still had a way to go with armour and its use. The planners were well aware that tanks were vital but his explanation of events show how unsupported infantry struggled against entrenched and committed Italian troops. The British army was still learning this lesson in Normandy when they were only just adopting combined units.
This is a book that will be on my list to get out again and reread because there is so much good quality information contained in it.